October 28th, 2007

back in town

Hi, everyone! I'm back here in London after a good trip out to see my family. Thanks for all the well wishes for my mother. She's doing amazingly well. Except for her taking the occasional nap, you'd hardly even know she'd just had two operations on her brain. It was a really relaxing visit, none of the usual flurry of meeting up with people. We just spent time with close family at the hospital (and the Thai restaurant around the corner), and while my mother was recovering, going for walks in local gardens and the zoo.

We did manage a day trip to Portland with my sister and her journalist boyfriend, Mike. We visited the Portland Art Museum to see work by my sister's tutor, Ann Gale. I was intrigued by a small exhibition of work by James Castle, an Outsider artist from Idaho who drew on scraps of cardboard with charcoal from the fireplace. The work was fascinating, but it was also an example of how good curation frames objects to give an overall feel of arresting strangeness. The bits and bobs might have been chucked out if someone had found them in the back of a bar, but in the museum's setting, the pieces of cardboard would make anyone stop and marvel at them. My favourite object was a book he'd created. Castle couldn't really read, but wasn't intimidated about the idea of a book, creating a hand bound volume with abstract pictures, some lettering and squiggles for words. We then visited Cosmic Monkey Comics, had a drink in the Hawthorne district, then made a last stop at Powell's Books.

My sister took me on a successful thrift store run in Renton (I always find better stuff when I'm with her), and we went for a walk with my parents in central Redmond, just because I hadn't been there in donkey's years and wondered what kind of impact Microsoft had made. Surprisingly, only a tight hub in the centre had grown very much and the area still had lots of the old shops, since apparently Microsoft keeps its workers penned into their compounds pretty tightly. Here's a photo of one of the signs I liked, and another of the fabulous farmers' fruit stand not far from my parents' house, near Renton. I kept going back to buy apples and giant artichokes.

gini + sam set forth

I still have a ways to go on the comic I mentioned earlier, but here's a preview of the beginning. Gini and Sam take awhile just to get out of London, as you can see. I did most of it on the airplane, so please attribute any particularly shaky lines to turbulence.

(You can see their earlier Berlin adventure here.)

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